Australian casino industry has been thriving for years and the rate of players has been constantly increasing. According to the latest updates on the gambling activity throughout the country, the residents of Maroondah have gambled away more than $65 million in one year on poker machines operating in the region. The disturbing statistics called for an immediate reaction as it raised concerns regarding gambling issues among Australians. As part of an extensive reform in the country’s gambling framework, the State Government introduced a cap on the number of poker machines available in the region for an indefinite period of time.
The statistics revealed startling information in terms of the gambling activity in Victoria’s municipality of Maroondah and the authorities were concerned by the huge amounts, which locals are losing on gambling machines. As aforementioned, it was estimated that the residents of Maroondah have lost more than $65 million for the last fiscal year. To reach this figures, it means that gamblers were losing approximately $178,000 per day. Based on that knowledge, experts ranked Maroondah in 16th place out of 70 Victorian municipalities in total for most money lost on poker machines.
Gaming Minister Marlene Kairouz announced that the cap and the gambling reform aims to curb the rates of gambling problems among locals. It emerged on the surface that the prohibition is to be introduced in 17 Victorian councils due to the high risk of gambling-related harm. It is interesting to note that Australia is the country with more operating poker machines than any other. At present, there are 759 gambling devices in Maroondah and 27,500 gambling machines across Victoria. Under the new rules, the number of poker machines at a certain gambling venue will be also capped at 105 for the coming 25 years.
Apart from banning any more machines being approved through these 17 Victorian regions, the State Government agreed on a $500 limit on cash withdrawals at gambling venues in a span of 24 hours.
Clash of Opinions on the Matter
The Alliance for Gambling Reform accepted the government’s measures with open arms and the unit went even further, proposing to slash the maximum bets from $5 to just $1 and a $200 maximum limit on cash withdrawals. Alliance director Tim Costello took the opportunity to remind that the period for which the gambling terminals are authorized to operate is coming to an end in 2022. According to Mr. Costello, this is a great opportunity to reduce the number of the poker machines and curb the gambling-related problems.
Community Clubs Victoria, on the other hand, did not agree with the Alliance’s stance on the matter. Speaking of the Alliance’s proposal, Community Clubs Victoria’s Chief Operating Officer Neill Murray said that such restrictions are too severe, defending the gambling activity as “a means to an end” for clubs.It is important to note that Community Clubs Victoria speak on behalf of almost 200 venues with pokies.